Champions Tour event coming to Branson at former Branson Creek, Top of the Rock

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RIDGEDALE, Mo. – The Champions Tour’s newly-named Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops, a two-man team competition conducted over 54 holes, will be played June 2-8, 2014 on the resort’s Par-3 Top of the Rock course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge Course (formerly Branson Creek GC), freshly redesigned by Tom Fazio. The tournament, which debuted in 1978, was held in Savannah, Ga., the past 11 years. This will be the first PGA TOUR – sanctioned event to use a Par-3 Course in official competition.

Top of the Rock, a nature-based heritage preserve created by Bass Pro owner Johnny Morris, also features an Arnold Palmer – designed practice facility with 18 target greens and the remarkable 70,000 square-foot "Himalayan" putting course designed by Tom Watson. It has been closed for renovations for nearly a decade.

The announcement was made Tuesday during a press conference at Big Cedar Lodge that featured Missouri Governor Jay Nixon; PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem; Morris, Founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops and owner of Big Cedar Lodge; and Watson, a World Golf Hall of Fame member and Missouri native. In addition to Big Cedar Lodge, the State of Missouri, Bass Pro Shops and MasterCard will be sponsors of the tournament. Champions Tour member John Cook was also in attendance.

"The Legends of Golf and Champions Tour both share a history of being innovative and engaging properties, and that legacy will certainly continue here at Big Cedar Lodge with the introduction of a Par-3 golf course in official competition," Finchem said. "If there was ever a Par-3 course worthy of PGA TOUR tournament play, Top of the Rock is it. It truly is an outstanding venue and a wonderful complement to the newly redesigned Buffalo Ridge course. We believe the inclusion of this dramatic short course will demonstrate to a time-crunched world that par-3 golf is fun, entertaining, and a worthy alternative for golfers. We thank Johnny Morris, Governor Nixon, and MasterCard for their support of this popular event and are excited to present a refreshing new concept to our players and fans."

The field will feature two divisions for players age 50-65 and 65 and older. Following Friday and Saturday rounds at Buffalo Ridge and Top of the Rock, all contestants will play at Top of the Rock in the final round. Eligibility will be announced in the near future. The total purse will be $2.75 million.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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